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June 30, 2016 – 9:41 AM | No Comment

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Children and Pets: Making Choices Based on Developmental Stages

Submitted by on March 9, 2016 – 1:06 PMNo Comment
Children and Pets: Making Choices Based on Developmental Stages

From the time they are toddlers, children have the desire to take care of others. Caring for a pet can help ease your child into the responsibility of caring for a dependent, but not all children are ready at the same time. Here are some tips for choosing a pet when your child begins to express interest.

For Young Children – Pets with Minimal Care Required

Before you agree to adopt a family pet, it is important to consider your child’s development and the amount of time you and your family will have to care for it. Whereas a dog requires consistent training, other pets, such as fish, turtles, guinea pigs, and even some birds require only basic care. These are often great choices for younger children who are interested in caring for an animal, but who still need to learn the basics and the responsibility involved. Your child will enjoy feeding these pets and will be more than happy to help you clean the cages or tanks. In this case, the bond between children and pets is still strong, but the level of responsibility is rather low.

For Children Younger than Age 10 – Consider a Cat

The cats versus dogs debate is one that is sure to continue for centuries, but the fact is that cats are generally easier to care for than their canine counterparts. If your family is ready to take on a free-roaming pet, and if your child is ready to commit to the daily responsibility of caring for that pet (feeding, watering, and cleaning the litter pan), a cat is a great choice. Before adopting your new feline friend, take your child with you to the local shelter. Not only can he or she form a strong bond with the cat of his or her choice, but you can also do a little pre-adoption allergy testing. Children can sometimes have allergies to cats, and it is important to make this determination before bringing your new pet home.

For Older and More Responsible Children – Dogs Are a Child’s Best Friend

There’s no denying that a dog certainly completes the ideal picture of what a Florida family should be. However, dogs require a lot of care and training, and not all children are ready for that kind of responsibility. It is up to you to gauge your child’s ability to walk, feed, and even “potty train” this pet, and chances are good that you’ll also be taking on quite a bit of responsibility, both financially and otherwise. When it comes to children and pets, dogs like retrievers and beagles have excellent temperaments with kids. Other breeds may be a little more unpredictable, so be sure to keep this in mind before deciding to bring home your new family pet.

Children and pets go hand-in-hand. In fact, many adults today have fond memories of their childhood pets, whether these were dogs, cats, or even a guinea pig. Before you make the big decision to adopt a pet, make sure you consider your child’s abilities and developmental stage, and make sure you choose a suitable companion.


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